Estate Agent Social Networking - Sharing local and expert knowledge
01 February, 2010 | Web design
Troy Stanley on Estate Agent Social networking - reporting from the Inman Connect Conference in New York:
'I have suffered complete information overload from 3 straight days at the Connect Conference in New York. The conference involved presentation after presentation in a punishing program of '8 till late'. It is only now on reflection, looking back at the notes I made that the enormity of the issue I have has become clear.
Sitting in a room of some 1200 delegates, who from time to time were asked for a show of hands on such subjects as:
"Who has a smart phone"?
"Who regularly participates in social networking"?
"Who has a personal Facebook page"?
"Who has a Facebook fan page (business page)"?
"Who writes a blog"?
In each case I looked around the room to a sea of hands (remember these are real estate agents and not techies). In most cases the show of hands was 80-90% and never less than 60 to 70%.
Compare this to a meeting of UK estate agents I recently presented to where most think of Facebook as something their children do, and whilst there is an acknowledgement that social networking exists it is certainly not something that 90% plus of the Great British estate agent does.
If I have learnt one thing from the conference, it is that Estate Agents in the U.S. are years ahead of agents in the UK, in terms of technology. Many of our American counterparts regularly update a blog, own a smart phone, are active on various social networks and uploaded mobile content, this all helps direct buyers and vendors to their website, which acts as a hub of all of their activity.
What are they doing that's different? Firstly they are showing that they are the expert in their area. An Estate Agent knows their local area better than any reporter or local blogger due the amount of local information that is communicated to them. Estate Agents that integrate social networking with their local expert knowledge find that local people will naturally refer to them for information and advice and when those locals will want to sell their home, who do you think they will refer to?
Secondly they are engaging people on a personal level. By starting or joining in conversation on social networks, Estate Agents are able to establish significant relationships in the local community. Therefore the Estate Agent creates targeted and meaningful relationships to convert people from viewing their Facebook or Twitter page to accessing their website.
By combining engagement with comprehensive local knowledge, Estate Agents are adding valuable content through social networking. Only with valuable content will Estate Agents attract the type of targeted traffic that they would wish for their Estate Agency website.
365 million active Facebook users that each using Facebook for, on average, 6 hours per month. Many of these users are buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords, developers etc. It's free to setup a business page on Facebook, so why wouldn't Estate Agents be using it?
Troy Stanley, CTO of Resource Techniques.'